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16/10/17 Today we announced the expansion of the Turnbull Government’s pilot program to deliver targeted services to women through specialist domestic violence units.

$3.4 million in funding has been committed to establish six new specialist domestic violence units and support the expansion of an existing one, ensuring more women can receive the vital legal and social support they need.

This additional funding builds on the Turnbull Government’s existing record investment of over $1.7 billion over five years for legal aid commissions, community legal centres and Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Legal Services, including $20 million already being provided to pilot the existing specialist domestic violence units and five health justice partnerships.

The following providers have been selected to establish new or expanded pilot units in the priority locations listed below:

  • Legal Aid New South Wales – Central Coast, NSW
  • Women’s Legal Service Victoria – online model servicing priority locations across Victoria
  • Legal Aid Queensland – Rockhampton, QLD
  • Southern Communities Advocacy Legal and Education Service – Rockingham, WA
  • Women’s Legal Service South Australia and the Southern Community Justice Centre – South Metropolitan Adelaide, SA
  • Central Australian Women’s Legal Service – Tennant Creek, NT
  • Women’s Legal Service Tasmania – expansion of existing unit to the North and North-East regions of Tasmania

These locations have been identified as areas of high need for additional domestic violence services, based on consultation, evidence of legal need, and the locations of existing services.

The new domestic violence units will provide essential legal and social support for victims of family violence, and will partner with other service providers to ensure that each client receives the help she needs, including financial counselling, crisis support and accommodation, mental health support, and other practical assistance.

The new services will build on the early learnings and successes of the existing units, whilst continuing to refine the integrated legal and social support model. An evaluation of the pilot program will commence shortly and is expected to be completed in late 2018.

The existing 12 domestic violence units have helped over 2800 clients providing over 7600 discreet services in the first 18 months after they were established in early 2016.

From its first days, the Turnbull Government has targeted violence against women and children as one of its highest priorities, and this funding continues to deliver on that commitment.

I congratulate the selected providers, and look forward to the establishment of these new services early in 2018.